Master Your Imagination To End Stress
And Joyfully Succeed
What percentage of your daily experience of frustration, anxiety and unhappiness would you say is based on nothing but your imagination?
When we take a direct, honest look at what is going on inside of our mind while we feel any form of emotional suffering, we see that all of it is an emotional reaction to what we are imagining.
Emotions relate to the imaginary as if it is reality.
When we feel unhappy, irritated or insecure we usually presume that the way to relief is through seizing control of an external condition. In your imagination you might see, for instance, a future consequence of your finances faltering. You might imagine not being able to buy food, or not being able to meet payroll, or not being able to purchase that luxury car that you desire. You then react to that imaginary scene with some form and degree of emotional distress as if you were actually confronting that situation in reality.
Then, in response to that emotional pain or discomfort, you might begin trying to figure out ways to get more money to solve your problem. You are relating to your pain as if it is a response to reality, when it is a response to the imaginary. This approach must prove futile because, while your pain is caused by your imagination, you are not addressing your imagination as the cause. You are relating to imagination as if it was a window upon reality, instead of as a mental picture. This is like sitting in a movie theater and relating to the images on the screen as if the screen was a window through which you are seeing reality. Instead of dealing with the cause of your problem you are dealing with a reality that doesn’t exist. This is like imagining that your leg is broken and placing it in a cast, though your leg is just fine right now. This is not good for your leg. When you to leave reality to solve problems that don’t really exist you are causing problems without realizing it.
Imagination Blocks True Perceptiveness
Our imagination gets triggered by what we observe; then our emotions get triggered by what we imagine. This happens so habitually, automatically and on such a subtle inner level that we don’t realize what is happening. We think we are reacting to reality when we are reacting to the imaginary, and thus the real is actually being unattended to. This is like closing your eyes and thinking about what you would do if an intruder entered your home, while failing to notice that you are leaving your front door wide open in the night.
You can tell that your problem is in your mind if it ceases to exist when you stop thinking.
How many times during the day do you think of yourself as not doing enough, not having enough, not being enough, not receiving enough, not experiencing enough of what you desire? Each time such a thought crosses your mind your emotions react as if that condition is real, when it is only in your mind. How can you tell it is only in your mind? What happens when you stop thinking and just experience your present moment directly? You do not think of yourself as inadequate. You cannot be directly aware of the present moment and think any thought at all.
Without the idea you do not suffer the emotional state that the idea triggers. To gain freedom from your emotional states of distress, free your mind of the imaginary conditions that trigger it. If you try to change your external circumstances in an effort to relieve you of your internal pain you do nothing to change the cause and thus your pain must continue.
We must continue imagining the mental scene that causes our internal pain until we address our imagination directly.
Because your emotions cannot differentiate between what you directly observe and what you imagine to be happening, you give yourself the problems that you are imagining, and what you are imagining continues to give you the emotional pain that you are experiencing.
For instance, if you feel distressed when you look at a bill that you do not have the means to cover your distress is not in response to your actual financial condition. It is a reaction to the consequences of not paying that bill that you imagine. Thus, you are experientially giving yourself that consequence. You have moved from your actual financial situation into one that you want even less! You are living in a dream – a nightmare, really - of a future you don’t want, and thus giving it to yourself in the present.
Memory is a form of imagination.
When you recall something you are calling the mental image of it to your mind. To remember is to imagine. Your emotions have no choice but to react to that image as if it was actually happening. That is why we can experience so much pain when looking back at a scene that disturbs us. It may have occurred decades ago, but we emotionally react to it as if it is happening now.
Looking forward in time is also a form of imagination.
Any future scene that you see in your mind is an imaginary construct, no matter how logical or inevitable it may seem. If you imagine that you have met someone who is going to make you happy for the rest of your life you react emotionally to that as if it was real, even though it most certainly is not, because no one outside of ourselves can ever really make us happy. When you feel anxious, humiliated, devastated over the idea of your lover leaving you, even while he is with you right now, you are not living in the present, but in the frightening future that you imagine.
We mistakenly imagine that the only way to protect ourselves from a frightening future is continue to imagine it and to feel frightened about it. But all this does is make our present seem to be the experience we fear.
The only time that we cannot imagine is the present.
To live in the present one must hold imagination in abeyance. You cannot think about the present and be conscious of the present, because thinking about it means that you are looking back or looking forward in time. You can live consciously in reality or you can live in your imagination, but you cannot do both at the same time.
To experience the present means that you are consciously, thoughtlessly aware of your present moment experience in the now. Try to do that right now. Pause in your reading to see how long you can observe your present experience without a single thought interfering.
The way out of imagination is to go into the now with full consciousness. When you do that the actual cause of your unhappiness, frustration and anxiety dissolves because you are no longer imagining the condition that triggers it. Your painful feelings may not immediately dissolve when you drop the imaginary scene that triggers it, though, because once an emotional state gets triggered it may continue to reverberate within us for a while, as if our cells and neurons have an imagination of their own.
While our emotional disturbance reverberates it exercises a kind of magnetic pull upon our attention, drawing to return the imaginary condition that triggered it. If we fall for the temptation we begin imagining the emotionally disturbing scene and that feeds the emotional disturbance, making it stronger and making it last longer. As we resist this pull – not resist our feelings, but resist their pull upon our attention toward the imaginary – our painful feeling-state gradually “starves”, weakens, fades and our natural state of inner, peaceful, harmonious emotional balance returns.
Emotional trauma seems to recur without imagining.
There are times when it seems that our emotions get triggered without imagining anything. This is a symptom of emotional trauma. What is going on here is that we are emotionally reacting to what we are observing because in the past a powerful emotional charge came with a strong mental image or imaginary condition in response to a similar observation.
For instance, you might find yourself feeling mysteriously helpless, anxious, weak, maybe even terrified when you see an ex romantic partner, or even someone who reminds you of that ex. You may have first felt these feelings years earlier, when he left you for another and did so in an unkind way that caused you overwhelming emotional hurt. Back then you felt defenseless against the excruciating pain you felt in reaction to his behavior, so now even the sight of him, the scent of him, or the sight of someone who reminds you of him triggers that emotional state in you. You find yourself feeling powerless and thinking of him as all-powerful and of yourself as powerless to protect yourself emotionally.
Your emotional suffering in situations like this is based on the imaginary, but the imaginary condition that produced it is locked in your unconscious. The way out of this is the same as described above. Get into the now. You will find your mind wants to return to those earlier times when you felt so devastated and so powerless to protect yourself emotionally. The sooner and longer you can keep your attention focused on the now, however, the sooner you starve that imaginary condition and the traumatic pain-pattern it lodged in you.
Think of how much happier you can be with a mind free of pain-producing imaginary scenes. You would never suffer feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness, terrified vulnerability and humiliating dependency again. You could deal directly with the actual facts of your present situation with inner peace and natural confidence, and make choices according to the outcomes that you want to bring about. Your inner life would be transformed, and that can happen for you, as you practice noticing what your mind is up to whenever you feel emotional distress, and then focus on the present to rediscover your inner peace.
Your imagination is a tool.
Imagination is not all bad. It’s a tool. If you do not control a tool adequately it turns into a weapon acting against you, like a hammer that you wield inattentively, causing you to smash your thumb. When you calmly contemplate the success you want in your imagination, you give yourself a clear target. Your subconscious begins guiding your activities in line with bringing it about. Because your emotions respond to imagination as reality, you feel joy, confidence, and gratitude in response to your visualization of success. This lift in your spirit increases your energy, enthusiasm, attractiveness and competence. It opens you up to higher levels of intelligence and creativity. It draws to you the people who can help you to succeed, because joy is a magnetic force that attracts positive people to us.
Try this practical exercise. Make a list of every factor in your life that you feel worried, disappointed, dissatisfied or resentment about. Then go down that list and pause at each item to realize that your thought about that factor constitutes you living in your imagination. See if you can see that this condition is imaginary as long as you think about it.
Then, focus your attention on the present moment until you actually realize that when you are fully aware in the present your inner disturbance abates.
Next, change the situation into what you want on the imaginary level. If you are worried about your debts, take some time to imagine the experience of all your debts being paid off. If you feel disturbed by another person’s behavior, imagine your life free of that person, or imagine yourself free of any internal disturbance in relation to that person. If you find yourself feeling pessimistic and unhappy about your job, imagine yourself feeling completely at peace, optimistic, filled with faith and joy in work that you love.
If you find it a struggle to imagine what you want, don’t try to force the imaginary condition in your mind. Simply hold your mind open and attuned to receiving the idea of what you want you want and it will come.
The Law Of Imaginary Conditions
The law of imaginary conditions is this: every mental image brings with it the power to materialize it. If you imagine things going wrong in your life, you empower yourself to make those things happen. If you imagine things going beautifully in your life, you receive, with that image, the power to experience things so.
If you would like assistance in gaining freedom from the internal suffering that holds you back and keeps you feeling down, contact me to for a complimentary discussion how I can help you with a phon-coaching consultation session involving The Method.
Contact me also if you would like me to speak at your school for to uplift faculty and / or support staff with an inspiring message about mastering the imagination for more joy and success in the classroom.